Humectants vs Emollients

In this article, we will discuss humectants vs emollients in your skincare routine and how they differ. Skincare can be quite confusing, especially with the plethora of products in the market promising the best results. However, understanding the importance of different skincare ingredients can help you make an informed decision when selecting products. Two essential ingredients in your skincare routine are humectants and emollients. These two components serve different purposes and have their unique benefits.


Humectants are a group of skincare ingredients that attract moisture from the environment or deeper layers of the skin to the surface. They hydrate the skin by increasing its water content, and this helps to prevent dehydrated and flaky skin. Some examples of humectants include sorbitol, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a commonly used humectant in skincare products, and it is known for its excellent hydrating properties. It is perfect for dry and dehydrated skin, and it helps to plump the skin.


Emollients are another essential group of skincare ingredients that work by filling in the gaps and smoothing out rough skin surfaces. Emollients help to create a barrier on the skin’s surface, which reduces water loss and helps to retain moisture. They soothe and soften the skin, making it appear smoother and more supple. Examples of emollients include avocado oil, shea butter, and mineral oil. Emollients are great for people with rough and dry skin.

Humectants vs Emollients: Which Should You Choose?

Both humectants and emollients are essential for maintaining healthy skin. However, it would be best if you used them based on your skin type and needs. If you have dry or dehydrated skin, humectants are essential to keep your skin hydrated. Dry skin needs more water, and humectants help to attract moisture to your skin. On the other hand, if you have rough and dry skin, emollients are critical to soften and smooth out the skin’s surface.

Combining Humectants and Emollients for Optimal Skincare

The best approach to take when looking after your skin is to use skincare products that contain both humectants and emollients. The combination of both ingredients provides optimal hydration and moisture retention while smoothing and preventing water loss from the skin’s surface. A perfect example of such a product is a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid (humectant) and avocado oil (emollient).


In conclusion, understanding the differences and benefits of humectants and emollients in your skincare routine is critical for maintaining optimal skin health. Humectants hydrate and increase water content in the skin, while emollients smooth and soften the skin surface. While both ingredients are essential, they should be used based on your skin type and needs. The best approach is to use skincare products that contain both humectants and emollients for optimal hydration and moisture retention. For more skincare related articles, visit